(This is the post that was eaten by the goblins lurking within the system at WordPress last week. Hopefully it reads as well as my first try because it was super awesome.)
The first thing that comes to my mind when I think about culture is something that you grow in a petri dish, and I’m pretty sure that those microbes aren’t avid readers. When it comes to your writing culture, we are talking about your audience. Understanding your audience and their interests and likes is a huge help when it comes time to attract attention among the screaming crowd.
A culture is defined as a group of people with similar beliefs and practices. In broad terms a culture can include an entire country, such as U.S. culture. Although the citizens of the United States are all very unique, they all share many things in common because they live in the same country. In more narrow terms, a culture can be as specific as a fan group. These are sometimes called subcultures.
People who adore Doctor Who are a subculture, they share many similarities. They tend to be intellectual, the nature of the program requires reasoning skills beyond your basic sitcom. They also have a penchant for collecting memorabilia such as sonic screwdrivers and clever reincarnations of the TARDIS. Chances are they also like other speculative fiction as well.
The people who you think would like your book are your culture. If you are writing fantasy you want to first attract people who like to read fantasy. This is a no brainer. But, what does it mean? It means that if you use a blog, or twitter, or Facebook, or any other social media to promote your work, you should post things that fantasy readers would be attracted to.
And this is where I’ve fallen short. My poor blog meant to attract readers for my future books has not been tailored to attract readers of epic fantasy. At most it has attracted readers from this blog and then a random smattering of people interested in various things such as Spongebob. This is not helpful to my goals.
I’ve failed to cater to my culture and this needs to change. I made my first attempt at catering to my culture last Friday when I stated my intention of becoming a Doctor Who fan. It sounds like fun and there are tons of awesome people out there who love Doctor Who. That post received more attention its first day than any other post I’ve written, except for when I accidentally attracted the Alfie Boe fan club with a post that compared him to my main character. Although cool, that didn’t help me win fans either.
Over the next several weeks and months I hope to do more to attract my culture, that is readers of epic fantasy, over at my other blog. This will include reviews of other epic fantasy books, fantasy movies, and yes, Doctor Who. I can’t promise anything, but there might also be some fun cosplay in there as well.
What are you doing to attract your culture? Let’s talk about it in the comments!
The August Giveaway is over and a winner has been selected. Everyone who liked or commented on posts during the month of August were entered in a drawing to receive a free critique of the first 20 pages of a current work in progress, or of their query letter.
The winner is: OntyrePassages! Congrats to you! I sent you a PM on your FaceBook writer page with the details.